2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid
2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

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By Paul Williams; photos by Chris Chase

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2011 Ford Fusion

There’s nothing like sustained high prices at the pump to get people thinking “green.” Not that the environment isn’t near and dear to our hearts, but it’s funny how Mother Nature often takes a back seat when gas is cheap…

Well, she’s in the front seat now, pointing you in the direction of the nearest fuel-efficient vehicle, with an, “I told you so…” look on her face.

If you’re in the market for a fuel-efficient mid-size hybrid, the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid has to be on your list, especially now that Ford is offering a $4,000 delivery allowance against its $34,199 MSRP, bringing its price to $31,779 including freight. (Check Ford.ca for current incentives.)

The Fusion Hybrid is rated at 4.6 L/100 km city, and 5.4 L/100 km highway. Conveniently, it will enable you to highway drive over 1,100 km on one 66-litre tank at normal cruising speeds, and you’ll see an honest 5.8-6.2 L/100 km in the city. The Ford Fusion Hybrid is a genuine fuel miser.

2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid
2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

The front-wheel drive Fusion Hybrid is powered with a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle, four-cylinder engine that makes 156 horsepower at 6,000 rpm in conjunction with a 40-hp electric motor. The Fusion Hybrid can run on battery power only (electric vehicle, or “EV” mode) at speeds up to 75 km/h, and is equipped with a continuously variable (CVT) automatic transmission.

Our Steel Blue test vehicle added the $1,300 Driver’s Vision Package (reverse sensing system, blind spot information system, cross traffic alert, rain-sensing wipers and rear-view video camera), along with the $2,100 Navigation System and $1,200 Moons and Tunes Package (Moonroof/Sony audio system) for an as-tested MSRP of $40,379 including freight, air conditioning and Ontario Stewardship fee. The $4,000 delivery allowance reduces this price to $36,379 plus sales tax.

The Fusion Hybrid comes similarly equipped to the four-cylinder (I4) Fusion SEL with 17-inch alloy wheels, power and heated mirrors, dual-zone air-conditioning with automatic temperature control, remote keyless entry, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, garage door transmitter, power driver and passenger seats, leather steering wheel, chrome interior and exterior accents, SYNC communications system with Sirius satellite radio (six months prepaid), automatic headlights with delay-off, foglights, and the full range of safety systems including a knee airbag (Hybrid only) and traction/stability control. Leather upholstery is available for an extra $1,225.

2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid
2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

On the road, the Fusion Hybrid is an exceedingly comfortable car to drive, somewhat belying its “high tech” engineering identity. The cloth seats are upholstered like your favourite living room chair, the leather-wrapped centre armrest is perfectly positioned for your elbow (although it doesn’t match the rest of the interior), and the compliant suspension provides a serene ride.

The steering wheel is unexpectedly large — more like a truck steering wheel, than a state-of-the-art sedan — but the instrument panel is all electronic and modern. Like the car itself, the interior is a something of a hybrid; functional and comfortable with flashes of high-tech, it’s kind of La-Z-Boy meets Star Trek.

The CVT is smooth and unobtrusive, and in normal driving conditions the Fusion Hybrid is notably quiet, with almost no wind, tire or engine noise to speak of. In EV mode, it’s just about silent.

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